Upon finding my lump back in April, I quickly learned that I don't have much or any control of what is happening to my body and I promised myself that the things I could control, I wanted to fully embrace. My positive attitude was the first thing I embraced that I knew I could control and wanted it to radiate from every ounce of me.
I have never felt more love and support in one room and it filled my heart with such joy that I beamed the entire day. You will notice an ear to ear grin on my face and it has radiated from my face ever since. I was shaved first and I have to say that I ROCK THE BALD LOOK. I look amazing! I love the look and it exudes confidence and boldness and I feel empowered! The best part is that my children think I am beautiful and Jacob told me that he is so lucky to have such a beautiful mom that he would be proud to take me anywhere bald.
It's kind of unbelievable to consider this...but Jill is actually celebrating her time with cancer. And her openness, her willingness to share her story, and share it honestly, has been a gift to all who know her. I'll never forget how she let us all feel her lump so we would know exactly what it felt like should we encounter one in our own self exam.
Sharing my journey with my children has been the greatest gift I could ever have given them and an even greater gift to receive. My advice to all of you is to spend time with children and your life will be changed forever. I have been honest with the kids since the diagnosis and continue to tell them new things as they arise. They appreciate my honesty and authenticity and trust me because of that decision. They are less scared because they see me fighting with positivity and they see me winning. They also see me experience all different emotions and side effects and see me struggle, but they always see me persevere.
The other week, I was getting undressed to shower (thinking I was alone, I took off my shirt) and was looking at my new post-surgery body and not loving what I saw in the mirror - when Jacob walked in, he saw me looking at myself and said "your scars look like two big smiles!....that is SO cool!" I immediately started to notice the changes in my body as I continued to stare in the mirror. A smile soon replaced a disturbed, confused and saddened expression. Taller and more confident shoulders replaced a pounding and aching heart...and tears replaced my dry and empty eyes.
Recently, whenever Kaitlyn and I go outside (now that it's getting cooler) - she instinctively places her hands on my head to keep it warm. Then when we get back inside, she removes her hands and kisses my head. This routine happens every time we go outside and it fills my heart with such love, and once again - my heart sings with joy.
A few weeks before I found my lump, I read an article in a running magazine that peaked my interest. It was about how changing one word in your everyday speech could change your perspective and mood. The author wrote that saying "I get to" instead of saying, "I have to" or "I need to" would improve your attitude. I thought this was brilliant and decided to start making the change thoughout the day. It was amazing how my attitude changed when I would remember to make the change. Instead of saying, "I have to make dinner" or "I have to run errands", I would say, "I get to make dinner" and "I get to run errands." I didn't realize then what an impact that article would have in my life just a few weeks later when I got the diagnosis of breast cancer.
I recently found this passage and it is one of the positive ways I deal with my changing body. I hope it touches your heart as much as it touches mine.
• Recently, in a large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:
¨THIS SUMMER DO YOU WANT TO BE A MERMAID OR A WHALE? ¨
A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.
To Whom It May Concern:
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans).. They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Barren Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia . Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.
Mermaids don’t exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don’t have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex? Therefore they don’t have kids either. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?
The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.
P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies. So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy. Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good gosh, look how smart I am…¨
I am learning to love being a whale and being so smart!
Believe in Positivity!